The new decade brings many challenges for nonprofits. The U.S. economy is strong and total philanthropic giving was on an upward trajectory until 2017, when individual donations declined 1.7% according to the annual Giving USA report. The report summarized that contributions from corporations and big donors has increased in the last few years, but individual donations have declined enough to cause the overall downward trend.
Accordingly, nonprofits must work harder to achieve the same charitable revenue results from their individual giving group while encouraging even more funding from larger sources. Ever mindful of budgets and fiduciary responsibility to their philanthropic partners, nonprofits must look for ways to be more productive while keeping an eye on their bottom line.
In 2020, nonprofits can benefit from advanced technology to produce greater results. There’s a plethora of platforms, apps, programs, and tools that will allow managers and administrators to more easily facilitate, communicate, and coordinate among the various team members and extended connections within their giving community as well as within the immediate office workplace. Let’s look at some of the tech tools and resources for nonprofits in 2020.
New communication tech tools and resources for nonprofits in 2020 are efficient and sometimes either free or come at a very low cost. Member and donor marketing benefits from advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) to communicate information to donors and supporters with convenient tools through social media, smartphones, and apps.
Social media tools that are accessible to nonprofits include Buffer which allows your social media channels to be consolidated into one platform for scheduling and analytics. Meanwhile, Lightful is specifically designed for nonprofits and does many of the same tasks that Buffer does by scheduling posts according to the most beneficial time of day and week.
Slack is a messaging tool for internal communications between colleagues and groups. For example, many nonprofits schedule events, and this app can create a chat room for specific schedules or projects. Slack can save time and improve efficiency by eliminating redundant emails and help virtual team members stay-in-touch in real-time.
A nonprofit’s website is the lifeblood of the organization, as with any for-profit establishment. Conveying information and resources to members, donors, and supporters is paramount to a thriving organization, no matter the cause being supported. Running IT, web design, and marketing departments at a small nonprofit may be challenging, but many tools are free and can be used with minimal technical knowledge.
Further, keeping your nonprofit’s donation records and personal information should be a top priority for any nonprofit. When launching a new website, there are a number of security tests you can perform in order to check the safety of your donor’s information. These tests include penetration testing, password testing, and more. Further, employees and volunteers should all be aware of the danger of social engineering attacks like phishing, keylogging, and other dangerous email attachments that could give hackers access to sensitive information.
To support this, apps Ghostery works with Google Chrome to effectively by eliminating third-party ads that may be laced with viruses that keep employees from accessing suspicious websites and can even track internet usage for your organization. On the other hand, LastPass is a password management app that creates and saves passwords that are hard to hack and easy to share. It’s a great tool, and a simple first step, for nonprofits that need to keep donor data safe from cyber thieves.
It’s essential that nonprofits stay productive to maximize resources and time. Tight budgets mean that organizations must be mindful of the top productivity tech tools and resources for nonprofits in 2020. For example, staying on task with accounting is easier than ever with several programs to track your accounts payable/receivable, cash flow, and budget.
To start, PDFs are essential document formats for any organization but are especially important for nonprofits who use them for reports and donor receipts. Particularly when it comes to financial reports, managing security and passwords for PDFs should be your first consideration. Next, if you scan a lot of documents, Adobe Scan takes converting documents into PDFs with added mobile phone technology to integrate into your existing computer system. It also has text recognition technology to create interactive documents for team use.
Managing projects can be confusing and time-consuming, but there are several great organizational tools for nonprofits to stay productive. Trello tracks team projects with task management and progress charts for easy reporting of project movement. They even offer a free plan for small organizations and works well with other platforms such as Google Drive and Slack.
One Microsoft product includes the Planner platform that is a project board to organize and assign tasks to other team members and track the progress throughout the week. It’s compatible with Microsoft 365 and integrates seamlessly into all Office programs like Word, Excel, and Outlook. Plus, they offer a nonprofit discount.
Nonprofit Management in 2020
Nonprofits share many organizational features with their for-profit brethren, but charitable organizations have some unique tools for their type of management structure and operations. While there are many internal tasks that can be made more efficient in day-to-day nonprofit strategies, in Human Resources, event planning, and donor relations, for example, other tasks can benefit from advanced management tools. Whether it’s having stellar invoice templates or easy collaboration on documents, nonprofit management tools are plentiful and more accessible than ever.
Choosing from the hundreds of tech tools and resources for nonprofits in 2020 and beyond is no easy task. Conducting a thorough inventory for your organization’s social media, communication, computer, productivity, and management resources is a great first step to staying on budget and increasing revenues in the coming years.